Update: 5 October 2019
The HPRA is aware of media coverage referring to 14 reports of potential 'breast cancer illness'. The HPRA has received 14 reports of 'breast implant illness'. Breast implant illness is not related to cancer or to BIA-ALCL. The HPRA has again clarified this with the relevant publication.
Update: 17 July 2019
Breast implants are medical devices that may be used for a range of procedures including reconstruction after breast surgery or primary augmentation of breast anatomy. In recent years there has been a focus on the long term safety of breast implants and conditions such as Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and ‘Breast Implant Illness’.
BIA-ALCL is a rare but important condition that has been reported in individuals with breast implants. This condition is not breast cancer, but rather a cancer of the immune system, or ‘Lymphoma’. It is very important that all individuals with breast implants, and any healthcare professionals who may be involved in the care of an individual with a breast implant, are aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition.
The HPRA encourages any individual who is concerned that they may have symptoms related to their breast implant to speak to their implanting surgeon or general practitioner and to submit a user report to the HPRA. Reports can be made online through our user reporting system. However, if you have any reservations or if you are uncertain about completing the online report form, you can contact the medical devices team at HPRA by calling 01 6764971. Your call will be directed to a member of the medical devices team. The user report can also be submitted to the HPRA by post.
The HPRA has specific advice in relation to BIA-ALCL, for the public and healthcare professionals in the link below.
Some individuals who have breast implants may experience systemic symptoms such as joint pain, rashes, memory loss, ‘brain fog’ or other symptoms. These symptoms and what causes them are not well understood at this time. Some individuals and some health researchers have used the term ‘Breast Implant Illness’ to refer to the experiencing of these symptoms in association with having breast implants. There is ongoing research to try to understand these symptoms and their origin.
It is very important that individuals with breast implants, and the healthcare professionals who look after them, are aware that ‘Breast implant illness’ and BIA-ALCL are different conditions with different symptoms, treatment options and outcomes.
As awareness of breast implant safety and conditions such as BIA-ALCL increases, the HPRA would like to reiterate the importance for anyone considering breast implant surgery to discuss the risks and benefits with their surgeon or healthcare professional. Clinicians should discuss breast implant safety, including the potential risk of BIA-ALCL, when consenting new individuals, and with any individual returning for review of their breast implants. If you have any health concerns relating to breast implants, please consult your GP or implanting surgeon.
For previous information from the HPRA relating to Breast Implant Safety please see these archived webpages.